Saturday, 27 August 2011

The last customer

I spent a wonderful morning in Bishops Castle today. I went into a beautiful coffee house that was also a book shop and observed a tiny little market town thriving with locals and tourists like me, mooching around the ancient streets and enjoying a little sunshine.

On the way back we stopped for lunch in Aston on Clun near Craven Arms. Before going into the excellent Kangaroo Inn, we popped into the village shop next door. Today that shop closed for good.

Purely, by chance, we were the last customers ever. We had no idea and just walked in to find the shop keeper closing this lovely village shop for the last time.

Feeling compelled to buy something, my husband bought a bag of Maltesers and so that made him the very last customer to purchase something from that wonderful village shop. It was very sad, and for some reason we couldn't quite eat all of those Maltesers, just wanting to hold on to a few so we could remember how it felt - and tasted!

I had never been there before and will not have the chance to do so again but it made me think about all the chances that we have every day of our lives. Sometimes it's the last chance, or maybe it's something new that is worth pursuing, because we never know how long that opportunity will last for.

I felt quite emotional seeing a lovely village shop closing but I guess it may open the door for something else.

Village Shop - Aston on Clun, Shropshire

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Inspired by others

A few months back I volunteered to be one of the judges for the Doris Gooderson short story competition which is held every year by my writing group Wrekin Writers.

At first I felt a bit daunted, especially when yesterday I was handed even more stories to read, yet I am really enjoying the experience and I am determined to delve into the next pile with equal enthusiasm.

I have been so inspired by reading other people's work and really wanted to give everyone an equal chance. Seeing so much of other writers work made me realise just how much effort they had put into it. It also made me think that every time we send something off there is still that element of luck. It can depend on the mood of the editor and what sort of day they are having, afterall they are human. They may be moved by a story, it may be too personal to them or it may just not be right for them, the time or the publication.

It's a great experience to read these stories and although I am not a famous publisher, I can appreciate a good story and admire how a writer can create a short story and bring it to life on paper when a total stranger reads it.

I have spent a lot of time recently writing non-fiction so this has given me a real boost to start on fiction again. I do realise that the short story publishing market is difficult at the moment but so many writers are out there showing that there is still a market!

It's so wonderful how infectious writing can be. Inspiration can come from so many directions. At the moment for me, it's from all the wonderful writers out there having a go!

I intend to be one of them!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The road is clear

So much has happened since my last post. Every time I wanted to write, something stopped me. My poor old horse was wrongly diagnosed by the vet and came within days of being put down - thankfully he's alive and kicking now, I injured my neck and had to take weeks off work and just recently one of my lovely hens died. To add to that I had terrible problems with Blogger not allowing me to comment on my own or anyone else's post. That is fixed now. It really was a pain as I like to reply and make comments when fellow bloggers have made the effort to say something.

I have tried during these times to get some writing done but I admit some of these things have felt like major hurdles. I just can't get motivated if I am feeling upset. I know most writers say it's important to write every day no matter what but I have to feel inspired to sit down and get any writing done.

Despite this, I have sent out a lot of work. My novel is with a few agents and I have sent my non-fiction idea plus a children's story to several publishers.

In the meantime I am also working through a freelance Journalism course which I am really enjoying. I signed up because I wanted to branch out into writing about other subjects than chickens and this course is certainly stretching me. I had to come up with a celebrity round-up idea for my last assignment and although I don't hold much hope of getting to interview any of the celebrities I selected, it was a good experience to complete the tutorial exercise.

My tutor has also made me feel a lot better in that she thinks it is good to specialise in some areas. I know most of my success has come from writing chicken related articles and for a while I felt a failure in not tackling other things but now I am striking a happy balance and pitching ideas to Poultry magazines as well as other areas of interest.

So far since starting the course I have pitched ideas for another three articles ( I admit one is about chickens!) The other two are completely different subjects one of which is looking hopeful and the other two pending. I was even asked by one editor how much I expected in payment. This was difficult as I did not want to show my in-experience by asking too little or too much. Fingers crossed she may feel I made a reasonable offer.

I really feel like I have re-charged my energy levels and feel motivated to get cracking on some new ideas as well as my existing projects. For now the road is clear and I intend to look far ahead and see what happens.